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 Post subject: Help! Vista or Polaris?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 7:24 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 7:02 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Ohio
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Please help - we’re stuck.

After looking at several different types of windows, we have narrowed down our search for replacement windows to two - either Polaris Ultraweld, triple-pane with argon and Low-E, or Vista Panorama triple-pane with argon and Low-E (their SealSmart Triad A package). We looking at tan outside, woodgrain inside. The two products are quite similar, but we’re really stuck on making a decision. Any input or thoughts on these two products would be most helpful. Both of the installers we are dealing with appear to be quite reputable, with no BBB complaints and good references, which is half the battle.

We live in NE Ohio and are replacing 50-year old single-pane wood windows. The windows we are getting include:

3 openings 82w x 72 high: Each of these will be filled with a picture window (1/2) in the middle, flanked by casements (1/4) on each side. They are on the north side of the house. These windows are all priced with tempered glass.
2 awning windows: 39w x 21h
1 slider: 53w x 42h
1 casement: 22w x 40h

The Vista quote is $6660 for everything. The Polaris quote is $7500 for everything. Obviously, if the only issue were price, we’d probably go with the Vista.

The Vista seem to have slightly higher U-values and solar gain ratings than the Polaris according the the NFRC site (which reports higher values than either companies brochures do), but not hugely different. The Polaris lets in more light. We were told that the Vista uses SuperSpacers in their triple pane offerings; Polaris uses an intercept spacer. Looking at the cutaway samples, the frames appear to be about the same, though Polaris includes some foam in their frame automatically (with Vista it’s an option). I know the foam doesn’t mean much, so that’s not really a selling point. Based on these factors, the Vista would seem to be a better choice.

However, the Polaris does have some pros as well. It seems to have somewhat sturdier screens (though the Vista’s are good also). Polaris has been in business much longer; while Vista has no complaints with the BBB, they’ve only been in business for 6 years -- any major problems with the window may not have surfaced yet, whereas Polaris windows have had plenty of time to be tested. Probably the biggest difference between Vista and Polaris -- the one that would really cause us to lean toward Polaris -- is the difference in weather stripping on the casement windows. Our initial impression is that the Polaris casements have a much more airtight seal than the Vista casements. With these being on the north side of the house, this might be an issue. Not to say that the Vista seals wouldn’t do the job; they just don’t compare to the Polaris.

Does anyone have any experience with these windows that could help us out? I think the prices on both are probably pretty reasonable. Please help -- at this point I’m really tired of researching windows and want to make a final decision!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 9:06 am 

Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2005 12:57 am
Posts: 135
Location: ne ohio
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i like the polaris in this case


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 10:58 am 

Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 7:02 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Ohio
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windowrep wrote:
i like the polaris in this case


What is it about the Polaris that you feel puts it above the Vista?

Oh, and one thing I forgot is that the Vista installer offers a lifetime labor warranty (in addition to Vista's limited lifetime warranty on the windows). I'm not sure about the labor with the Polaris (I'll have to ask about that), though I was told that after the first year of their limited lifetime warranty on the windows, there is a $65 deductible. I'll have to investigate whether labor is included by either Polaris or the installer.

And just out of curiousity, what brands of windows do you usually sell? I sense you've seen a number of different brands out there.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 4:13 pm 

Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2005 12:57 am
Posts: 135
Location: ne ohio
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when i used to sell and install windows,aka contractor or remodelor, i installed alsides for years. then switched to polaris from modern builders supply. had better luck with the longevity of polaris and the service issues where handled with little or no problem. they are a big established manufacturer. vista is relatively new to the market place i believe the are in warren if i am not mistaken.
i now work for a manufacturer and we only make one window, we also do not use any laminate.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 6:27 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 7:02 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Ohio
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Thanks for the info. It's good to hear that you had good luck with Polaris. Alside is near us, but I've heard mixed reviews on them. I haven't heard a great deal about Vista, though they have a good record with the BBB.

You are correct that Vista is in Warren - they've been around since January 2001. Apparently Vista was started by the former CEO of Polaris and he took several of their top employees with him (which explains why Polaris and Vista are very similar windows). From what I understand, Vista has basically taken the Polaris window, increased the air gap between the glass panes to 1", uses a coated steel for their intercept spacers (and SuperSpacers on their triple-panes) and uses a low-E "stacked" coating. Their double-hungs look almost identical to the Polaris (but we don't have any double-hungs). The main difference we noticed was with the casement windows - Polaris uses a different weather stripping which seems to produce a much tighter seal when you close them. (Just to be sure, we're looking at the Polaris casement again Monday evening before we decide.) Since most of our windows are either casements or awnings, this will probably be a deciding factor.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 10:46 pm 

Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2005 12:57 am
Posts: 135
Location: ne ohio
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good luck a2, i am about .7 miles from alsides so we are in the same area. don't get caught up in the space between the two panes of glass. argon gas is at its peak performing level at 12-14 mm or just over 1/2 inch. the gap between the two panes of glass should be what you want to measure. bigger is not better. on the other side of things krypton should be used in triple pane because it performs better in smaller gaps. although that to me is inmaterial because of our climate. once again good luck.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 10:54 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 7:02 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Ohio
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I appreciate the advice and your expertise. Thanks!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 8:05 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 5:11 am
Posts: 11
Location: Pennsylvania
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Did you look at Sugarcreek Integra Windows? They seem to be a good window and competively priced.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 10:00 pm 

Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2005 12:57 am
Posts: 135
Location: ne ohio
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rabs, how long have you been installing sugarcreek windows? what has been your experience with them?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 7:33 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 5:11 am
Posts: 11
Location: Pennsylvania
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I am not an installer, I am a homeowner who is looking at having these windows installed in my home. No one on this discussion board seems to have any opinion about them, however I have found that they seen to be a good product with an excellant warranty.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 8:56 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 7:02 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Ohio
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Rabs wrote:
Did you look at Sugarcreek Integra Windows? They seem to be a good window and competively priced.


We looked at several different windows, but not Sugarcreek. I was just looking at their U-values for the Integra windows on the NFRC website (listed under Precision Entry) -- the U-values for their double-panes weren't too impressive, but the values for their triple-panes seem relatively comparable to others we looked at. Of course, it depends on which window you get. I haven't heard a great deal about them either, but that can be said of a number of the window companies in this area. It definitely makes it difficult to choose! Seems like the best you can do is to do as much research as possible, and compare with others that look interesting. Check out the company with the BBB. And definitely make sure you're comfortable with the expertise of the installer, and that they have a good record and reputation. Call references and drive by other jobs that they've done.

Update on our decision:
We ultimately went with Polaris after looking at their casement window again. If we had been getting double-hungs or sliders, we probably would have gone with Vista, but the Polaris casements definitely seemed to have a more airtight seal. Since we're getting 7 casements and 2 awnings, that ended up being a deciding factor, as well as the fact that Polaris has been around long enough to establish a solid track record.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 5:47 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2006 5:11 am
Posts: 11
Location: Pennsylvania
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a2dox,

I'm not sure what you were looking at on the NFRC site about the Sugarcreek u-values but they are comparable to the polaris and vista for double pane with low e and argon. My quess is that you were looking at the double pane without low e or argon. Anyway just thought I would throw it out there because they seem like a good window with a warranty that is better than most.


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 Post subject: Re: Help! Vista or Polaris?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 10:18 am 

Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 10:14 am
Posts: 1
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Hi was just wondering how the polaris windows turned out after 2 years. Are you happy?
I am looking at them right now. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Help! Vista or Polaris?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 6:34 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 7:02 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Ohio
Offline
Just saw this (you've probably already got your new windows by now). But for anyone else who might view this later, we did get the Polaris windows and we're VERY pleased with them. We have a few more windows to replace and - if we ever get any spare money - would get more of these.


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 Post subject: Re: Help! Vista or Polaris?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 5:39 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2011 5:30 pm
Posts: 1
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I am glad to see you are very happy with Polaris after all these years.great feedback ! trying hard to find reviews and only found a few; all seem to be very positive though . we also think the Polaris Ultraweld is a very solid window. since this is an older post, it seems you went with intercept spacer system. Polaris now offer a true stainless as well as super spacer.
we also looked at soft lite and gorell windows. both looked like high quality but we decided on Polaris. were not impressed with the simonton 5500 at all.
this post reinforced our decision. we paid about $550 per window with super spacer but think it will definitely be worth it in the long run. heat mirror was another option they offer which looked very neat but was a tad above out budget.


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